Conroe, June 15 – After two-and-a-half weeks of delay, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal finally relented and produced his proposed budget for his County Judge Department for Fiscal Year 2018 to The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, in response to an Open Records Act request. Doyal’s proposal hammers the taxpayers and explains why he was ashamed to allow it to see the light of day.
Since 2014, Doyal’s County Judge Department has included within the Budget a vacant position with a salary of $48,660.70. Even though Doyal has not filled that position with any employee, he has continued to tax the citizens of Montgomery County that amount by leaving the position in his salaries budget. Amazingly, Doyal’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget proposal doesn’t even reduce the total expenditures in his Department by that amount. Instead, Doyal has only proposed a reduction of $41,559.
The games Craig plays
Let’s go through Doyal’s proposed County Judge Budget for Fiscal Year 2018. Of course, he leaves his exorbitant salary of $169,689 as it stands. Doyal, who spends the vast majority of each week playing golf and can rarely be found in the County Judge’s Office on the fourth floor of the Sadler Administration Building, actually makes $19,689 more than each of the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, and the Attorney General of Texas, who supervises a gigantic staff that easily exceeds the total number of employees of Montgomery County.
For salaries of others in his department, Doyal has reduced his budget from this year’s $281,140 to a proposed $256,072, a $25,068 reduction. In other words, the vacant position totaling $48,660.70 can absorb the entire decrease in this budget category, so that it’s clear that Doyal has found no efficiencies or spending reductions at all.
Don’t worry; Doyal has left his $960 per year cell phone allowance at the same level.
As a result of the fake reduction in proposed salaries, the benefits that go along with that reduction are only a reduction of $10,491.
To follow the running tab, however, note that by eliminating absolutely nothing from the bloated budget of his do-nothing department, Doyal eliminated $35,559.
To reach that $41,559 number, Craig Doyal had to forage for $6,000 more of savings.
How’d Craig save $6,000 more? (Answer: he didn’t “save” anything…)
Don’t worry, Doyal didn’t save a penny on stationary and supplies ($1,750), travel expense ($3,494 of forays to golf courses across Texas!), printing ($500), equipment rental ($3,500), or restricted burial expense ($30,000).
Where Doyal claims to have saved money in his department budget is actually both funny and sad. He reduced two budget accounts, “Supplies/Other” fr0m $6,800 to $2,800, and “Mobile Telephone” from $3,337 to $1,337. Does that sound good to you? It shouldn’t.
In actuality, in 2016, according to the County’s Consolidated Annual Financial Report, Doyal only spent $2,681 on “Supplies/Other” during the last Fiscal Year and $1,482 on “Mobile Telephone.”
Let’s look at those numbers side-by-side.
Account FY 2016 Actual Expenditure FY 2017 Budget Proposed FY 2018 Budget Savings (FY 2018 – FY 2016 Actual)
Supplies/Other $2,681 $6,800 $2,800 – 119 (negative 119)
Mobile Telephone $1,482 $3,337 $1,337 155 (positive 155 !)
Net savings = $155 – $119 = $36.
Congratulations, Craig Doyal, you’ve actually reduced the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for your Department by a lousy $36!
(Couldn’t we get rid of the ghost employee entirely and reduce our tax burden at least another $23,592?)
So, as the Sheriff’s deputies have to fight for every penny of their salaries budget, as Sheriff Henderson and his leadership team have to fight for every penny of additional manpower they so greatly need to make this community safer, as citizens’ roads continue to fail and “mobility” means “stuck in Craig’s and Charlie’s traffic jams,” all citizens and our law enforcement community should remember that County Judge Craig Doyal could only cut $36 from his annual budget even though he has a 3-year vacancy for which the salary and benefits easily exceed $62,000 per year.